A long-term study of the snowpack in Austria shows that global pollution-reduction efforts have paid off with big reductions in sulfate and nitrate concentrations. The pollutants are primarily from industrial sources and from cars and trucks and are carried to the Alps by prevailing winds. As snow and glacier ice melt, the pollutants run off into rivers and streams.
The study sites have been monitored since the 1980s and the results how that sulfate pollution has been reduced by 70 percent, while nitrate levels are down about 30 percent.
Does industrial soot play a role in the meltdown of Alpine glaciers?
By Summit Voice
With temperatures in the European Alps rising twice as fast as the global average, there’s little hope of saving some of the world’s most famous glaciers without immediate and significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Swiss researchers taking a close look at the effect of global warming say that plants, birds and butterflies sprinted uphill by anywhere from eight to 42 meters between 2003 and 2010 — a significant shift in a very short time, according to the study published in the online journal Plos One. Other research has shown that, in general, European bird and butterfly communities have moved on average 37 and 114 kilometers to the north, respectively. Continue reading “Alpine plants and animals sprinting uphill in response to global warming”
Dokulil analyzed long-term data records for air temperature and surface water temperatures dating back to the mid-1960s from the Austrian Hydrological Yearbooks. He projected temperature trends for nine large lakes, finding that lake surface temperatures are likely to rise by up to 3 degrees Celsius by 2050 as a direct result of climate change. Continue reading “Global warming is heating up Austria’s lakes”
LOWER AUSTRIA — Austria’s high alpine pastures, called Alms, are an important part of the country’s cultural tradition. For centuries, herders have driven cattle and sheep up and down the sides of the mountains following seasonal cycles of plant growth and snow melt.
The livestock grazing is managed mindfully to promote vegetation growth and biodiversity. It may be a difficult concept to grasp at first, but the rhythm of alpine grazing actually fosters biodiversity. Orchids, medicinal herbs and wildflowers thrive in the clearings and create lush green open patches in the landscape that are aesthetically pleasing. Continue reading “Can the Hockbärneckalm survive global warming?”